The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game of skill and chance, played in casinos, private homes, card clubs, and over the Internet. It has been called the national card game of the United States, and its play and jargon have become part of American culture. In poker, players place chips into a pot, or pool, after each betting round. They may call, raise, or fold. The player with the best hand wins the pot.

The cards are dealt clockwise, starting with the person to the left of the button (a token that indicates a nominal dealer to determine the order of betting). After the first deal, anyone who wants to shuffle may do so and offer the shuffled pack to the opponent to his or her right for a cut.

A standard hand consists of three or more matching cards of one rank and two unmatched cards of another rank. The higher the pair, the better the hand. A flush is five consecutive cards of the same suit, while a straight is five consecutive cards of different suits.

Ties are broken by the highest non-pair hand; for example, if both hands have four of a kind, the one with the higher rank wins. If both have a pair, the one with the higher high card wins. High card rules also break ties between pairs of the same rank and between three or more different hands. Ties in a straight or a flush are broken by the highest single card.